The bus pulled up just outside the ER entrance at the nearest hospital. Skye carried Hae Rin in, accompanied by her manager, while we waited in the bus. About half an hour later, Skye boarded the bus, alone.
“So how’s Hae Rin?” I asked.
“She just had a minor sprain. The doctor said she’ll be fine in a week or two. But she definitely can’t continue going on tour with us.”
“After tonight, I wonder if there is still gonna be a tour,” Hee Chul said.
“Yea… that collapse was massive!!” Chang Min piped in. It seemed that the guys have finally found their voices. They’d been pretty silent since we left the stadium.
“I only hope that no one from the audience got hurt,” Yun Ho said. We all nodded in agreement. We didn’t get a chance to check on the audiences at all back there. The management had immediately ushered us onto the bus after the stage collapsed.
“It’s so weird, this has never happened before. We’d had so many tours before and there has never been a near-fatal technical error like the one tonight,” Jae Joong said.
“It must be a freak accident,” Yun Ho said. “Unless, there had been sabotage or negligence by the stage crew.”
“Let’s not talk about it anymore,” I said. “Just thinking about what could’ve happened gives me the chills.”
We checked in at the hotel and started getting ready for bed. The management had booked an entire floor for us. Technically, we were supposed to get ready for bed, but the guys were playing around in the corridors instead; running from room to room and engaging in pillow fights right outside their rooms. It felt like a children’s camp, minus the presence of an adult chaperone. During the commotion, Jae Joong snuck into my room to spend the night. I’d gotten a room of my own since all the other girls had paired off.
“Waah!!” Jae Joong said as he jumped on the queen sized bed face first. “Why do you get your own room?”
“Cos no one wants to share with me,” I said as I jumped on the bed beside him.
“Ya… you must be really unfriendly to be shunned like this,” he joked.
“Or is it because of you that I’m shunned?” I smacked his arm.
“Hmm… you have a point there. I do have many admirers and they’re sure to hate you.”
“Glad you know it,” I said as I started to get under the covers.
“I shall keep you company tonight,” he said as he too started to get in.
“Yah! Who asked you to?” I said as I nudged his butt with my feet, trying to kick him off the bed.
“I’m being a gentleman here by accompanying you,” he smiled sweetly. “And you know you want me to stay,” he said as he tried to put his arm around me.
“I want my own bed! I wanna roll around in it all by myself! And if hyung finds you here, you’re gonna be in trouble.”
“You sure are weird, wanting to roll around all by yourself. Is that what you do to past time when I’m not with you?” he laughed.
“None of your business,” I said as I tried to kick him off again.
“Sierra-ah…” he whined cutely as he sidled up beside me. “I’ll be a good boy. I just want a bigger space to sleep in. The guys are such pigs,” he complained and gave me his adorably sad expression.
“Araso…” I laughed as I pinched his cheeks with both hands. “But you better make sure hyung doesn’t find you here.”
“He won’t!” Jae Joong exclaimed gleefully and he started to get comfortable in my bed. He put his left arm under my head and I lay on my side, hugging him.
“Jae Joong-ah,” I said.
“Didn’t you see Hae Rim when she danced beside you?”
“I didn’t notice. I was busy looking at the audience and looking at you.”
“Chintcha… you were great tonight. I saw your performance from the TV they’d hooked up in the dressing room,” he said as he pulled me close and kissed my forehead.
“It’s just odd. Why did she even come forward to dance beside you? The trainees were told during briefing that they were to stay behind us.”
“They were goofing around a lot back there. They could’ve just forgotten the arrangements.”
“Maybe,” I sighed and then I yawned.
“Go to sleep,” he said as he stroked my head. “All that excitement has made me tired as well,” he said as he yawned.
“G’night,” I said as I snuggled closer.
“G’night,” he said as he turned out the bedside lamp and put his arms around me.
The next morning I was woken up by a loud banging on the door.
“Wake up, nuna!!” I heard Shoei shout through the door.
I yawned and stretched leisurely, and then I realized that Jae Joong was gone. He must’ve snuck out early this morning to avoid getting caught. I smiled to myself at his thoughtfulness.
“Nuna!!” Shoei shouted impatiently.
“Right!!” I shouted, as I sat up in my bed. “I’m awake!!”
“The management wants us down in the café in 20 minutes.”
“Araso…” I said and I plopped back onto the bed. I turned to look at the alarm clock, I’d brought, on the bedside table. It was 8:30am. Then I saw a piece of paper pinned beneath the clock.
You slept like a baby. But you sure didn’t feel like one ^^p
I smiled as I read the message he’d written. He always knew how to brighten my day. I quickly got into the shower. If there was going to be anymore traveling today, I’d want to make sure that I’m going to feel clean and fresh for the rest of the day. I could never understand the guys who don’t shower each morning. They usually have to put up with it until we get to the next hotel. And sometimes, that could be as late as 2am, the next day. Imagine not having had a shower from 8am to 2am. That’s like 18 hours of stink building up on their bodies.
8:45am. I’m putting on my tracksuit. I walk into the bathroom with my bottle of hairspray and started styling my hair as simply as I could. There was a plus for having short hair; you get natural bed head and that saves time when it comes to styling it. The setback is when the natural bed head doesn’t look the way you intended it to. Then you’d have a hard time reversing the effects.
It was exactly 8:50am when I waltzed into the café at the hotel. Most of them were already eating. I walked to our gang’s table and sat down beside Jae Joong. He immediately set a plate of food, he’d saved, in front of me and I started eating without a word. It had been like that for the past week since we started touring. I’d always be later than Jae Joong in coming down for breakfast. He’d always have my plate of food waiting for me and there wouldn’t be a single thing, which I wouldn’t like to eat, on it. As I chewed, I looked around. The producers and managers were busy eating at their own tables.
“So what’s the commotion about?” I whispered across the table to Shoei who was sitting right opposite me.
“Hyung said that the management had an announcement to make,” he whispered back.
“Did anyone see the papers this morning?” Kang In whispered to the entire table.
“What’s in it?” I asked.
“There were people injured last night. Serious injuries!!” Kang In said.
“How serious?” Skye asked.
“There was a girl with a broken leg, another had a gash on her head and a few more I couldn’t remember. There was a minor stampede when the audiences in front tried to move away from the stage. Because the audiences at the back were not aware that the stage was collapsing, they didn’t move away or give way to those who were moving back.”
“Man… that’s scary!!” Chang Min said.
“Yea…” Kang In continued, “and those at the back actually surged forward when those in front made it past them, only to realize that the stage was collapsing.”
“Ya… no wonder there were so many emergency vehicles whizzing past us last night as we left the stadium,” Yoo Chun said.
“I’m so glad I’ll never have to be part of an audience like that,” Jun Su said.
“But once upon a time, you were,” Yoo Chun laughed. “And I bet you were as crazy as any of those audiences were last night.”
“Am not!!” Jun Su squeaked and then he pouted.
At about 9:15am, one of the senior producers called for our attention.
“As you all may have found out, there were members of the audience injured during the accident last night. We were lucky no one was killed and the management is glad that none of you here sustained any serious injury, apart from Hae Rin, who’d twisted her ankle. Having said that, the management has instructed me to announce that we will not be continuing on the tour but we will drive directly back to Seoul and still have the finale concert in 2 days.”
The whole room groaned. They had been looking forward to completing the entire tour and now it had been cut short.
“An investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of yesterday’s accident. That is why we have to wait for 2 days before we can stage the finale. We leave in one hour.”
As soon as the producer ended his speech, everyone started chattering away.
“I wanted to visit Pusan!!” I heard Ryeo Wook whine.
“Does this mean we’re gonna get a 2 day break?” Han Kyung turned to Yun Ho.
“Travelling back would take the entire day, and then we’d probably have rehearsals tomorrow. So I don’t think it’s a break,” Yun Ho replied.
The guys groaned when they heard Yun Ho’s remark.
“I’m going to the loo,” I told Jae Joong as I got up.
“You want me to go with you?” he said.
“Pyont’ae…” I accused laughingly.
“Ya… I was just being a good boyfriend.”
“Thank you, I don’t need an escort,” I said. “Pyont’ae,” I repeated under my breath, but loud enough so that he could hear it.
He pulled me down to whisper in my ear, “If you don’t go right this instant, I’m realy gonna turn into one.”
“Oooh!! I’m so afraid,” I laughed as I walked away.
As I walked turned into the corridor which lead to the washrooms, I saw two figures some distance ahead of me. It was Hae Rin and Skye. Hae Rin was leaning against the wall and Skye was standing in front of her, talking. I was about to call out to them when suddenly, Hae Rin slapped Skye. I looked on in shock. Skye looked shocked himself as his hand went to his cheek.
“You jerk!!” Hae Rin yelled. “I’ll show you!!” she added and started to limp away from him. As she looked up, she saw me. “Onni…” she stammered.
“What happened?” I asked her.
“Um… it’s nothing,” she said. “I gotta go,” she said huffily and quickly limped away.
I approached Skye who was still standing there, facing the wall. “Skye?” I looked at him questioningly.
“I’m fine, nuna,” he sighed. “I better get back to my room to pack,” he said and he turned to walk away.
Two hours later, we were in the bus on our way back to Seoul. The fans had gathered at the hotel earlier to see us off. It was pretty touching. They cheered and waved as our bus pulled out of the hotel grounds. Some came with huge banners and some wore the official colors of our tour, white, green and yellow. There were also fans who cried. Going on this tour had been a real eye opener. It had proven to me that we were actually more loved by our fans that we’d expected.
I leaned on Jae Joong as the bus drove down the highway. He was strumming on an acoustic guitar and singing his own rendition of their 2006 Japanese single, Miss You. His voice would always sound beautiful to me and it never fails to calm me. But as he sang today, my mind kept drifting back to the scene I’d encountered earlier. Why did Hae Rin slap Skye?